Baby Gear Checklist
Learn how to choose the best crib, stroller, infant car seat, baby bath tub and more
How can someone so tiny need so much stuff...?
Buying baby gear can be so much fun...
and so expensive...
and so time consuming...
It's like the entrance fee of just about any baby store is some $1500! You go in to buy a pacifier and come out with an infant car seat (the one you had turned out to be unsafe), a new baby bouncer (so good with one that can be rocked) and 10 other pieces of baby gear you didn't even know existed (but that really are indispensable...).
This article will guide you towards choosing the right gear for your baby, depending on your situation and wallet.
These days, things have gotten a little bit better, because now you can do some of your baby gear shopping online. For example, we bought our twin stroller online. We got it at a 35% discount compared to shopping in a store close to our home. We also got it in five days instead of 10 weeks!
So before you run off to a store close to home, investigate the online alternatives.
Or better still, go to the store to check out the baby gear, and then buy them online if that gives you a better price. (Most likely it does!)
Now to the baby gear checklist!
Baby Gear Checklist
Infant Car SeatUnless you are 100% sure that you will give birth to your baby at home, you will need a car seat after only a few day, to get your new baby back home from the hospital.
And who knows for sure how a birth will turn out?
So, invest in a new, safe car seat for your baby!
This is one of the baby gear products that you should not compromise with. I wouldn't even buy a used one. Who knows if the seat has been in a mild car crash for example or if it is older what the seller tells you or remember?
So, check out the latest safety reviews for car seats and get one well before your baby is planned to arrive.
Buying your baby's first stroller is probably going to be your biggest baby gear investment. A good stroller with a bassinet can easily cost some $700 or more.
If you don't want to spend all that money, you can of course buy a used one.
When buying a stroller (new or used), remember to check recent reviews. Even if most strollers are more or less safe, it is not all that rare that some strollers get criticized for having poor brakes or even a handle bar that can fall off.
These days most strollers have adjustable front wheels (or one wheel). Depending on where you live, this can be very practical or actually somewhat dangerous. Only one front wheel or very small front wheels are difficult to maneuver in snow, and the stroller might overturn in the snow.
In such case it is better to choose a stroller with not too small two fixed front wheels or wheels that can be locked.
Crib Or CradleEven if you plan to co-sleep with your baby, you'll need a cradle or a crib. Many babies sleep almost around the clock when newborn and you'll need a safe and cosy place for your baby to rest when not in your arms.
Many babies sleep better in a cradle than in a crib in the beginning. This is probably because they feel safer in a small area than in a roomy crib.
But if you are short in cash or space, you can go for a crib only and make it cozier by reducing the size of your baby's sleep area. Use pillows or rolled blankets, but make sure they can't fall over your baby.
Another advantage with a cradle is of course that you can rock it. This may help your baby fall asleep at some other place than in your arms.
Choosing a mattress may seem real easy - just get one that fits into the crib or cradle!
Well it is almost that simple!
However, one thing to think about is to buy a firm mattress. Even if this may seem uncomfortable, it helps preventing SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Why? Because your baby can't bury his face into the mattress as easily.
Also, even if you buy a used bed, I would consider buying a new mattress. You can't be sure that the mattress has not been used by for example a cat or that it has been used in a home where someone smokes.
There are also indications that SIDS is increased by babies sleeping on toxic mattresses, so it is definitely worth buying a new one.
BeddingWhen you choose bedding for your baby, don't be tempted to buy fluffy blankets and pillows.
As your baby can either fall under them or sooner than you know pull a light weight, fluffy blanket over his face, this type of bedding is potentially dangerous for your baby. (SIDS again).
Actually, I'd recommend a very flat pillow (if any) and a sleep bag, like this one. This way, your baby will be comfortable and safe at the same time.
You'll also need to buy a few sheets - make sure they are made of cotton, preferably from organic cotton to minimize the amount of toxic substances close to your baby.
Bath TubYou don't really need to buy a special bath tub for your baby, but it is quite convenient to have one when your baby is small. And they are often one of the cheapest pieces of baby gear that you will buy. For a quality bath tub, that can be used for a long time, check out this one.
Also, even a toddler can enjoy bathing in a small tub, just because it is fun, so if you have room for it, go ahead and get one. What you don't need is one of those specially designed bath seats. It is quite easy to learn how hold a baby while bathing him, so save your money!
If you don't want to buy a bath tub, you can either use a big bath tub or the sink to bath your baby.
Baby BouncerA baby bouncer is of course not a necessary piece of baby gear, but it is so convenient.
You can buy a very simple one or one that can be rocked, play music, includes a lot of toys etc. It is all a matter of taste and price.
But, the main thing to think about is to buy one that you can position so that your baby is lying flat on his back.
This way, you can use the bouncer right from the beginning and your baby can sleep or look around close to where you are.
A baby carrier or a baby sling is almost a necessary piece of baby gear, in my view.
Most new babies really want to be close to their parents as much as possible. This will keep you very busy, just holding your baby hour after hour.
With a baby carrier or sling, your baby will get all the close contact he needs, while you will get a chance to do something else than just sitting.
Also, many babies that suffer from tummy pain or colic seem to feel better by being carried around.
The choice of carrier or sling is of course a matter of both taste and price. The main thing is that you get one that supports your back well and that you find convenient to use. For me, Babybjorn Active Baby Carrier has been the best, by far.
Diaper BagDiaper bags are expensive! I haven't really figured out why - I mean they are just bags!
These days there are really neat, fashionable bags to buy - very tempting!
Whether or not you buy a bag designed for the purpose, you will need some sort of bag to carry all diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifier and you name it...
A changing table isn't absolutely necessary; you can use the floor or your bed, for example. But in the end, this will hurt your back.
A changing table can be anything from very simple in plastic, to super advanced, with wooden versions with drawers and even in combo with a crib.
When I change diapers, I want to be close to a sink, so the bed-changing table combinations are not perfect in my view (and expensive!)
If you are at all interested in saving money, or use your money elsewhere, consider buying some of your baby gear online. The savings can be quite massive; sometimes 50% or more.
It is still a good idea, of course, to visit a local baby store to check out the goods and compare prices.
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